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Full text of "Hand in hand through the happy valley"

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HAND IN HAND 



THROUGH THE HAPPY VALLEY. 



BY 

MRS. J. A. OERTEL. 



PUBLISHED FOR THE BENEFIT OF 

THE CHILDREN'S WARD, ST. JOHN'S HOSPITAU 

CHURCH CHARITY FOUNDATION, 
BROOKLYN, L. I. 



1881. 






TO MY SWEET SISTER 

IN CHRIST, 

rPON WHOSE GENTLE HEAD 

^OD SET THIS GOLDEN CROWN OP ^ 

MOTHERHOOD, 

THIS LITTLE VOLUME IS LOVINGLY 

DEDICATED. 



«,-^ 



There is not in the wide world a valley so sweet, 
As that vale in whose bosom the bright waters meet; 
Oh, the last rays of feeling and life must depart, 
Ere the bloom of that valley shall fade from my heart., 

Yet it was not that nature had shed o'er the scene, 
Her purest of chrystal and brightest of grecD; 
'Twas not the soft magic of streamlet or hiH, 
Oh ! no,— it was something more exquisite still. 

'Twas that friends, the belov'd of my bosom were near, 
Who made every scene of enchantment more dear : 
And who felt how the best charms of nature improve, 
When we see them reflected from looks that we love. 

•Sweet vale of Avoca ! how calm could I rest. 

In thy bosom of shade, with the friends I love best, 

Where the storms which we feel in this cold world would 

cease, 
And our hearts, like thy w^aters, be mingled in peace. 



THE HAPPY VALLEY 




" It is warm in that green valley, 
Vale of childhood, where you dwell. 

It is calm in that green valley, 
Round whose bournes such great hills swelL" 

In the beautiful Piedmont region of 
Western North Carolina, where the 
foot hills lie nestling at the base of 
the Blue Ridge, a stretch of valley, four or 
five miles in extent, bordering the yet infant 
Yadkin, is known as the " Happy Valley." ^ 

On either side the mountains rise and fall in 
wavy, picturesque outline, rugged and wild, 
with faces scarred by tempests and the black- 
ened tracks of the fire fiend that so often 
sweeps destructively up and down their steeps. 
They stand in their native, uncultured wild- 
ness, in sharp contrast with the lovely scene 
in the vale below. 



8 The Happy Valley, 

The bottom lands of this valley are luxuri- 
antly rich. In their season the broad fields of 
wavy grain, heavy with the golden harvest, 
and the ranks of stately corn, with its broad, 
dark green leaves covering the full strong ears, 
bring to mind the exclamation of the Psalm- 
ist, "The valleys shall stand so thick with 
corn that they shall laugh and sing.-' 

As one approaches from the south the route 
lies over the Green Mountain. By the gradual 
ascent of a graded road the top at last is 
reached, and winding through a gap the de- 
scent immediately commences. Just on the 
summit a mystical mound, circular in form, 
with a depression in the middle, supposed to 
be the resting place of some of the dusky war- 
riors, who in the olden time made these cliifs 
resound with the war-whoop and song, gives 
a name to the locality. It is known as the 
'' Indian Grave Gap." The road is the oldest 
in the county, having been travelled long be- 
fore this section was inhabited. 



The Happy Valley. 9 

'* Half drowned in sleepy peace it lay, 
As satiate with the boundless play 
Of sunshine in its green array, 

And clear cut hills of purple hue. 
To keep it safe, rose up behind, 
As with a charmed ring to bind 
The grassy sea, where clouds might find 

A place to bring their shadows to." 

The first view of this valley, as it spreads 
out before the eye of the traveller as he emer- 
ges from the woods, is sure to call forth feel- 
ings of unbounded admiration. The one per- 
vading sentiment of this lovely spot is that of 
peace. The sunlight seems to lie so lovingly 
on these fields and to bathe them with its rich- 
est gold. Bird voices fill the air all the day, 
and when night throws a deeper repose over the 
landscape, the plaintive voice of the whippor- 
will, comes in with its minor strain to make the 
silence and quietude as it were audible. 

In the midst sparkles and dances on the 
merry Yadkin, fresh from its mountain birth- 
pl-ace. It is still so small that it may be ford- 
ed in places, is a bright, clear stream, and sings 
joyfully as it flows past, on its long way to the 



lO The Happy Valley. 

throbbing sea. Its course amid the wheat and 
corn fields is strongly marked, by the fringes 
of shrub and tree growth upon its borders, 
and there is also a realization of that charming 
picture of the poet, "That vale in whose 
bosom the bright waters meet." 

With graceful curve and sweep the ice-cold 
waters of Buffalo creek join themselves to the 
Yadkin. It flows down through a most roman- 
tic gorge, the high banks on each side heavily 
wooded, shading the water from the sunlight 
which has already tempered, the Yadkin in its 
flow, as it basks in the sun-rays in its course 
through the valley. Many a dignified laurel 
blossom has bowed and nodded demurely at 
the reflection of its own rosy face in tlie mirror- 
like stream, and lovely ferns sport their deli- 
cate fronds coquettishly at the waters' edge. 

A most picturesque mill stands upon this 
creek, just before the "meeting of the waters" 
takes place. Its surroundings are wildly 
beautiful ; hoary rocks, giant trees, and an 
undergrowth of exquisite variety and luxuri- 
ance combine to produce a rare artistic effect, 
and the loneliness touches one like poetry. It 



The Happy Valley. n 

is fresh, free nature, in her loveliest mood, 
ready to hold converse with the heart whose 
chords are tuned in sympathy. 

Here every season has its peculiar charms. 
The spring- tide comes so daintily, robed in 
the tenderest harmonies of color ; the yellow, 
red, green and giay, through all their most 
subtile gradations, as the young leafage puts 
forth from the myriad varieties of growth, and 
on every liillside, in every nook, and scattered 
broadcast over the meadows, the trailing arbu- 
tus, the violets, and all the early sisterhood of 
lovely flowrets, stand ready with their per- 
fumed breath, to whisper winning words of 
God and love. 

The summer advances with wealth of green- 
ery, piled up, piled up ;— one feels as if a faded 
leaf could never more be known on earth, so 
full and perfect does everything appear. The 
skies are the purest azure, and the air, purple, 
velvety, not a dim haze veiling aught from 
sight, but transparent, yet softening the near- 
est objects. Then the gardens teem with the 
full-bosomed, glowing roses, and the humming 



3 2 The Happy Valley, 

of the bees alone breaks in upon the drowsy 
stillness. 

But to one who has an eye for bold, vivid 
coloring, this valley in the autumn is a very 
Paradise ; scarlet, crimson, maroon, orange, 
yellow and brown stand sharp against each 
other, blazing up the mountain sides, and 
covering their tops with glory, all intensified 
by the intermixture of the emerald-green pine. 

As the spring suggests the thought of a gen- 
tle maiden attired for a Ma}^ day festival in 
pale blooms, the autumn steps down the vale 
like a haughty brunette, her hair bedecked 
with scarlet, her proud form arrayed in gor- 
geous colors, and her passionate heart-throbs 
suffusing her rounded cheeks with richest 
damask. 

Even old winter lays his hand right gently 
here. When the snow covers all, as it does 
sometimes, one does not think of death, as is 
generally the wont, but as of a child in its spot- 
less bed, smiling in sweet sleep at pleasant 
dreams. 

Likewise with the rising and the setting of 
the sun each day. In the morning all the 



The Happy Valley. 15 

eastern slope reposes in cool, dense shadow, 
while the range of mountains that lie along the 
west, flame and blush with the first kisses of 
the sun, and as the day declines the shadows 
fall where the rosy morning light has lain, and 
the eastern rampart glows and shimmers in 
the evening rays. 

Two sunsets in the year are particularly no- 
ticable. Looking up the valley from old 
*'Fort Defiance," the point at which the inter- 
est of his little narrative centres, the peculiar 
form of the *' Table Mountain " stands, at the 
end of the vista, against the sk}^ It is an in- 
teresting and curious formation, and as seen 
from this side, fully merits its name. It lifts 
its head, perfectly square, the top flat and level, 
and the precipices on each side, perpendicular 
to the depth of three hundred feet. 

On two evenings, one in the spring and one 
in autumn, the sun sets directly behind this 
mountain and seems for a few moments as it 
were to rest upon its summit, a very shekinah 
of radiance, calling up recollections of the 
many instances recorded in Holy Scripture of 
supernatural appearances on mountain tops. 



14 The Happy Valley. 

And so the days and seasons fonie and go in 
the "Happy Yalle^^" Sometimes a storm 
comes sweeping down, and the Hoods follow 
and spread over the fair fields, and wild peals 
of thunder disturb the repose of the scene : but 
this is the exception. The memory the travel- 
ler or visitor takes away with liim, is a linger- 
ing sound of gentle voices, a vision of kindl}^ 
faces surrounded by birds and flowers, and an 
impression of unbroken peace and beauty. 

Several fine old southern homes are scattered 
along at intervals ; homes in which the most 
generous cheer, dispensed Avhh the largest 
hearted hospitality, was always to be found. In 
years gone by each house was full of young 
people, and growing children, the families all 
linked together by ties of kinship. Life there 
was as full of enjoyment as culture, refinement, 
affection, and an overflowing abundance of the 
good things of earth could make it. 

But alas, the "Happy Valley" is only an 
earthly Eden, and change, the universal lot of 
all, has fallen upon its dwellers. The blight 
of war fell even here, and the tread of hostile 
armies broke the peaceful stillness, and left 



The Happy Valley. 15 

niLiny a bitter track behind. The young friends 
and relatives who grew up together, have 

been 

" Scattered 

Like roses in bloom; 
Some at the bridal, 
And some at the tomb." 

Some laid down their lives upon the altar of 
their " beloved South/' lighting for what they 
deemed the right, and were brought back fro in 
the battle fields by tender hands to sleep be- 
neath the green sod of the valley they loved ; 
and the chances and changes of this mortal 
life have removed others far away from these 
cherished scenes of their childhood and youth. 

Still each house is held and occupied by de- 
scendants of tlie former owners, and a family 
feeling and warm attachments bind all to- 
gether. In this respect, even allowing for the 
many sad recollections which time has gath- 
ered there, it is still the " Happy Valley." 




'A brave old house ! A garden full of "bees, 

Large dropping poppies, and queen hollyhocks, 
With butterflies for crowns, — tree peonies 
And pinks and goldilocks." 

HE home to which I would lead 
my readers is known by the very 
belligerent and bristling cognomen 
of "Fort Defiance." The name is far how- 
ever from giving any idea of the spirit which 
pervades it, or its inmates ; but is derived 
from an old fort of that name which in the 
early history of our country did service in the 
line of defence erected against the Indians. It 
was located here just behind the spot where the 
residence stands, upon the edge of a steep set 
off, at the foot of which a creek flows. The 
former site of the fort is now the graveyard; 
where a goodly family group, members of four 
generations, are quietly waiting for the resur- 
rection. 



The Happy Valley. 17 

A strange fascination clings about this curi- 
ous old house. It is so quaint in construction, 
and the air about it seems so thick with memo- 
ries, that one cannot help loving it, though 
the hand of Time, and his faithful follower, 
Decay, has been laid so heavily upon it, that it 
is neither as cheerful or comfortable as it used 
to be. 

In the centre of the building a spacious 
room running through the entire house, from 
which a stairway with heavy oaken bannisters 
leads up to the second floor, is called "The 
Hall.'' A large fire-place, with pannelled 
work above and around it, fills up one end. 
In the corner the grim old clock stands, ruth- 
lessly ticking away the hours, and days, and 
years — ticking slowly, solemnly, — as if it had 
upon its beating heart a remembrance of the 
many lives it has seen come and go in this old 
home, whose hours of birth and death have 
been numbered from its dial. As if it had 
gained through all these years, watching the 
fleeting human shadows which have passed 
before it, a sense of its own steadfastness, and 
of the importance of its mission. 
2 



1 8 The Happy Valley. 

It takes up at times strange voices. Some- 
times with monotonous exactness it seems to 
say, ''Coming — going — coming — going." Again 
every stroke of the unwearied pendulum says 
*' Gone — gone — gone — gone.'' It is not al- 
waj's sad, however, for ever and anon there 
comes a period wlien it calls out, "Happy — 
ha])py — happy — happy,'' — or, '' Praise — the 
Lord — Praise — the Lord." 

It is as it were the heart of the mansion, 
and sensitive to the influence of every light 
and shadow that passes over it, while it regu- 
lates the movements of the active life within, 
a life that must be ever active, no matter 
who comes or goes. 

This " Hall " has been largely used as a din- 
ing apartment, although the family dining-room 
at present is to the right of it. If its walls 
could speak, what tales they could tell of merry 
times in the long ago : of the family reunions, 
of the Christmas dinners, the birth-davs and 
the wedding feasts ! The antique sideboard, 
which has so often groaned beneath the weight 
of the farm-house dainties piled upon it, still 
keeps its place near the old clock ; there seems 



The Happy Valley. 19 

to be a kind of comradeship between them, 
as if they could say, " you and I," to each 
other, and a sort of stately, old-time spirit 
lingers about them both. 

There are doors, front and back, leading from 
the '^Hall" into the open air. 

Behind the smaller dining-room is a bed- 
chamber, and from it a second stairway leads 
to a suite of rooms above ; from which again a 
stairway rises to the old garret, a perfect 
curiosity shop in its way, being filled with 
all the parapharnalia, the waifs and strays of a 
family life a century old. 

- To the left of the " Hall" is the parlor with 
a room attached to it, and a third stairway en- 
closed and winding, with odd little drawers in 
the wall all up the sides. There is no connec- 
tion between this parlor part of the house and 
the rest, except by way of the piazza, which 
stretches the whole length of the house, fes- 
tooned with trailing vines, grapes and roses. 
Neither is there any connection on the second 
floor between the apartments to which the three 
separate stairways lead. The modern ideas of 
convenience find no place here in this respect, 



20 The Happy Valley. 

for it is necessary in order to go from one 
room to another just beside it, to come down 
stairs, go out on the porch, and up another 
stairway. The kitchen and servants' rooms 
are detached from the house, as is the usual 
custom in the South. 

" Roses either side the door, are 
Growing lithe and tall, 

Each one set, a summer warder, 
For the keeping of the hall — 

With a red rose, and a white rose,- 
Leaning, nodding at the wall." 

From the central door a wide walk leads 
out through the garden. It is bordered on each 
side with spacious beds of flowers, that seem 
to flourish here as nowhere else. It often ap- 
pears as if flowers, like children, can recognize 
those who are their friends, and are ready to 
respond to the sympathetic touch of kindly 
fingers. Surely never any where else do leaves 
unfold and buds bloom where they meet with 
such a gracious, loving welcome as here. 

All the sweet old-fashioned flowers find 
plenty of room. The old spicy pink, the sweet 
William, tulips and hyacinths, the fragrant. 



The Happy Valley. 21 

single- white being the family favorite, the hol- 
lyhocks, the jump-up-johnnies, the blue corn- 
flowers, sweet peas and poppies, and great 
olumps of annunciation lilies are not crowded 
out, though they stand in close proximity to 
many, very many of the new and more preten- 
tious, though generally less fragrant blossoms ; 
and in winter the cold-pit is full of the newest 
triumphs of floriculture. As the ^' sweet mo- 
ther ' ' wro te, ' ' I wish you could see our pit. It is 
perfectly ablaze with flowers. The laurestinus 
you i-ecommended has been a pyramid of bloom 
all the season, and delighted us all with its 
delicious perfume ; the calla, too, has five 
splendid lilies out now." 

At the end of this walk is a secluded nook, 
covered and shaded by century-old cedars, 
dark and cool at the hottest mid-day, and jo- 
cosely called by the family *^The Lovers' Re- 
treat." Indeed it is said that in the course of 
events several engagements have taken place 
in this romantic and cosy corner. Around the 
entrance roses and lilac bushes flourish, while 
in the early part of the day, on every side the 
eye is gladdened by the clean, pure faces of 



22 The Happy Valley. 

the morning-glories, which run in mad riot 
over everything. 

Of course, to those who have lived here so 
long, this garden is haunted ground, peopled 
to their loving ken with fonns that others see 
not. Among them there is one, a 

"Little maid witli wondrous eyis, 
Not afraid, but clear and tender, 
Blue, and filled with prophecies,'' 

as she looked dreamily out at " life's unlifted 
veil," whose lovely, happy life was interwoven 
with its flower-life, like warp and woof. 

Looking out beyond the garden bounds, on 
to the mountains, green pastures, rich harvest 
fields, and quiet solemn woodlands lie. 

To the right the ground descends rapid y to 
the same little stream of wnt^r before spoken 
of as running: dovrn below the family burying 
ground. It flows through the barn-yard, giv- 
ing drink, brii2:ht and fresh and clear, to the 
many full-uddered cows gathered therein. It 
is like a sweet idyl — 



The Happy Valley. 23 

"The lovely laughter of the wiud-swept wheat, 
The easy slope of yonder pastoral hill, 
The sedgy brook whereby the red kiue meet, 
And wade and drink their fill." 

Beside this stream there stands several 
large old beech trees, with great overhanging 
branches, and the white roots, with their mnl- 
titudinous arms stretched and intertwined in 
the most fantastic w^ay. They have a weird, 
elfish look, especially by moonlight. 

" On the left the sheep are cropping 

The slant grass and daisies pale. 
And the apple trees stand dropping 

Separate shadows toward the vale; 
Over which, in choral silence. 

The hills look you their ' All Hail!' " 

Just behind the house, between it and the 
garden, stands a huge catalpa tree. The old 
giant has basked in many a summer sun, and 
braved many a storm, and is now yielding to 
the gnawing tooth of time. An aged grape 
vine throws its snake-like form up the trunk 
and around its branches, and gracefully inter- 
twines its leaves and sprays with the large, 
plain leaves of the tree. Near its base is a 



24 The Happy Valley, 

hole decayed in the trunk, where a huge limb 
has broken off, in which a hen once made her 
nest and hatched a volunteer brood of chick- 
ens. 

Through how many experiences and changes 
the old tree has watched beside the mansion ! 
Its leaves have clapped their hands and rip- 
pled with laughter at the frolics of the young 
and gay who so enjoyed a sojourn here, and 
when the pall of sadness has fallen upon the 
old home, the winds have sighed a requiem 
through its branches. 

Several smaller houses are grouped about, 
in one of which stands the loom, where won- 
drously fine fabrics are woven by hand. Not 
only the jeans and linseys of the country, but 
fine dimities, and table and bed linen ; also 
tasteful carpets. Though in these days of 
steam machinery, goods could probably be 
bought cheaper than they can be thus manu- 
factured at home, and very much trouble saved 
by it, still so many of the poor people around 
have been in the habit of depending on the old 
home for their subsistence in these various 
industries, that the gentle mistress feels it her 



The Happy Valley. 25 

duty to keep up the old customs, though it is 
of times a tax upon her strength and energies 
almost beyond their powers of endurance. 

In front of the house is a row of grand old 
spruce pines. They are yet strong and vigor- 
ous, and are magnificent in form, and solemn 
and stately in their intensely dark green foli- 
age. One of them v/as riven from top to bot- 
tom by a thunderbolt a few years since. 

The mansion was built by Gen. William 
Lenoir, nearly one hundred years ago, the 
work of construction being commenced about 
1785. It was a laborious undertaking in those 
days. The frame is of heavy oaken timber, 
and still in a state of excellent preservation. 
Gen. Lenoir at that time lived in a smaller 
house on the opposite side of the river. The 
nails were made by hand, by the blacksmith 
on his plantation, and the most of the lumber 
was sawed with a whip saw. 

The cornice, which still adorns the eaves, 
and the looking-glasses, were ordered from 
Liverpool. They were received at the port of 
Charleston, and hauled all the long way in 
road wagons. 



26 The Happy Valley. 

He was bom in Virginia. His father was a 
French Huguenot, a sea captain, and owner of 
his own vessel. It went down in the raging 
waters, carrying the gallant captain with it to 
a seaman's grave. 

He was rather a stern man, of dignified de- 
meanor, but it has been said of him that in his 
intercourse with women his manners were like 
those of the knights of the olden time, and he 
was exceedingly kind to the poor. His doors 
were always open to receive the traveller, as 
there were no taverns in the country in those 
primitive days. Perhaps the best account 
that could be given of his life is contained in 
the epitaph upon his tombstone. This is 
more elaborate than his family would have 
wished, but the stone was ordered from the 
eastern part of the State, as such a thing could 
not, of course, be obtained in the mountains, 
and the matter of the inscription was left to 
some of his friends, his associates in public 
life. This is ilieir estimate of him, and their 
tribute to his memory. 



The Happy Valley. 27 

iif:re lies 

All that is mortal of 

WILLIAM LENOIR. 

Born, May 8th, 1751. 

Died, May 6th, 1839. 

''In the times that tried men's souls he was a genuine- 
Whig. 

"As a lieutenant under Rutherford aud Williams, in 1776, 
and as a captain under Cleaveland at King's Mountain, he 
proved himself a brave soldier. Although a native of 
another State, yet North Carolina was proud of him as her 
adopted son. In her service he filled the several ofiices of 
Major -General of the Militia, President of the Council of 
State, member of both houses of the Legislature, Speaker 
of the Senate, First President of the Board of Trustees of 
the University, and for 6Q years Justice of the Peace, and 
Chairman of the Court of Common Pleas. In all these high 
public trusts he was found faithful. In private life he was 
no less distinguished as an afi'ectionate husband, a kind 
father and a warm-hearted friend. The traveller will long 
remember his hospitality, and the poor bless him as their 
benefactor. Of such a man it may truly be said that his 
highest eulogy is the record of his deeds." 

A very interesting incident in connection 
with the battle of Kings Mountain is related 
by the family. 

When the call came for recruits, as Major 



28 The Happy Valley, 

Ferguson, of the British army, was coming up 
the country with his command, intending to 
embody and organize the Loyalists beyond the 
Wateree and Broad Kivers, and to intercept 
the mountain men who were retreating from 
Camden, every man who had a horse started 
for the scene of action. William Lenoir w^as 
then living in Wilkes Co., and joined the 
forces under Cleaveland. He was made a cap- 
tain, and his two iriends, Herndon, and Jesse 
Franklin, afterward Governor of the State, had 
also some official appointments. These three 
made a compact together that they would 
stand by and succ* -r each other in whatever 
circumstances they might be placed. 

As the command was going up the moun- 
tain, there came a man ))eck()iiing and calling, 
"Back, back!" and he pointed out another 
way whicli they took, and that proved to 
have been the onl}' way by wliich Ferguson 
could have escai)ed. The man was quite un- 
known, had never been seen by any of them 
before, and was nevei- seen afterwards. Gen. 
Lenoir always said it was a providential inter- 
ference ; that it was God's will that the federal 



The Happy Valley. 29 

forces should be triumphant, and so He led 
them by the right way to cut off the enemy's 
only chance of escape. 

There is also treasured up in tlie old home 
an English officer's sword, that Gen. Lenoir 
picked up and brought home with him from the 
battle field. It has a fine keen blade, upon 
which is engraved this legend, in Spanish : 
" Draw me not without reason, 
Sheathe me not without honor." 

His wife was of an aristocratic English family, 
and a thorough Church woman. She was so 
situated in life that she was cut off from all 
Church association. But though true to her 
Church, and never uniting with any of the de- 
nominations around her, she had a large and 
loving heart, full of generous impulses, giving 
out its affection to all who called themselves 
Christian. She was so amiable and good that 
her children used to say, "Mother not only 
forgives an injury, but really and truly for- 
gets." 

She was a cripple, and walked on crutches 
for the last ten years of her life ; but she was 
always contented and cheerful. 



30 The Happy Valley, 

A grandson of tliis wortliy couple is now the 
owner of the venerable home. Many a time 
has the qnesrion of building a new house and 
pulling down rlie old one been discussed ; 
but as desirable as the new one appears to be. 
when it comes to look the matter of tearing 
away the old roof-tree squarely in the face, 
all shrink from ir. So it stands on. Angels 
have come and gone from its dooi's many a 
time before, but now it has been flooded anew 
with glory, freshly consecrated, made as it 
were a place of transfiguration, a spot where 
sinful mortals might well take oflf the shoes 
from their feet, feeling that the place is indeed 
holy ground. 

A calm silence reigns in the household, and 
two pictured faces upon the wall alone tell of 
the gentle souls that have departed : but they 
left behind them a track of light, leading the 
desolated hearts up from the beautiful Valley 
to the city of Jerusalem the Golden ; from the 
dear old home so weather-worn and decaying, 
to the " one only mansion, the Paradise of 
joy." 



The Happy Valley. 



31 



"Jesus in mercy briug us, 
To that dear land of rest. 

Who art with God the Father, 
And Spirit, ever blest." 




"Face and figure of a child — 
Though too calm, you think, and tender, 
For the childhood you would lend her. 

"Yet child simple, undefiled, 
Frank, obedient — waiting still, 
On the turnings of your will ; 

" And her smile it seems half holy, 
As if drawn from thoughts more far 
Than our com.mon jestings are. 

" And if any poet knew her. 
He would think of her with falls 
Used in lovely madrigals. 

" And if reader read the poem, 
He would whisper — 'You have done a 
Consecrated little Una.' " 



THE VALLEY OF LIFE, 

" There are buds that fold within them, 
Closed and covered from our sight, 
Many a richly-tinted petal, 
Never looked on by the light ; 

Fain to see their shrouded faces, 
Sun and dew are long at strife. 

Till at length the sweet buds open — 
Such a bud is life. " 




N the fondly clierislied old home of 
which we have spoken, three little 
fair-headed boys had already gath- 
ered around the hearthstone, when upon the 
15th of December, 1866, the blue eyes of a little 
daughter opened to light and life. It was 
a welcome, jDrecious gift, and was received with 
joy and thankfulness. 

The little one grew on, gaining in strength and 

beauty until on the 26th of June, 1867, she was 

presented for Holy Baptism. She was given 

the name of Louisa Avery, the maiden name 

3 



34 The Happy Valley. 

of her papa's sainted mother, which was ab- 
breviated in the household parlance to Loula. 

Her "sweet mother," whose confirmation 
took place the same day, says of her — "I 
never gave a child to the dear Lord moi-e 
heartily.'- 

It was an interesting scene, as the venerable 
Bishop, himself, looking all an apostle with his 
stately presence, and who always comes to 
these scattered sheep, with so much of tender- 
ness and fatherly affection, took her in his 
arms. 

She went to him with evident pleasure, and 
as the Holy Rite proceeded, she looked up 
lovingly into the Bishop's face, and patted his 
cheek caressingly. When he poured the water 
over the fair baby brow, she clapped her tiny 
hands and shouted aloud, as if she had already 
gained the victory. 

Can it be that attendant spirits whispered of 
the sunny life and radiant death that awaited 
her, that she should seem thus exultant at the 
starting point of her Christian career. 

As the months rolled by in her little life, 
slowly gathering into years, she increased in 



The Valley of Life. 35 

loveliness. She had wide open eyes, and a 
self-poised, fearless nature, from her earliest 
infancy. She never was afraid of any one, 
would go to any kindly hand outstretched to 
take her, was never cross or fretful, and gave 
very little trouble, and a great deal of comfort. 
Good health and her mental characteristics 
combined to make her a veritable sunbeam in 
the household, a well-spring of delight to all 
about her. 

She even in her earliest days showed indica- 
tions of the gentle consideration for others 
which was a marked feature of her individual- 
ity all through her life. 

It is related of her that when she was about 
ten months old, her papa had a number of 
hands on the place, moving a house. The 
nurse walked out with the babe to see what 
was going on, and to watch the operations of 
the workmen, all white, save one good old 
black man. 

They all noticed the lovely child, and came 
and talked to her, and then kissed her. She 
kissed them all willingly until she came to the 
black man, and then she drew back, but at 



36 The Happy Valley. 

once she seemed to feel that her refusal might 
give him pain, and to show her good will and 
that she was sorry about it, she put both her 
little hands on his face and tenderly stroked 
it. 

She always manifested this thoughtfulness 
both in joy and sorrow. Even her pet animals 
were not overlooked. She desired S3^mpathy 
herself and she wanted to sympathize with 
every living thing. 

Once, soon after she began to walk and talk, 
she saw her uncle coming, of whom she was 
very fond. She ran fast as slie could to meet 
him, but seeing her pet cat running too, she 
stopped a moment to put her arms around his 
neck and say — " Tom, AVallie has turn — is you 
gad?" And then she went on so cheerily, all 
the happier that she had not overlooked poor 
pussie, in her own delight. It was no wonder 
that the affectionate cheerful little creature, 
became so inexpressibly dear, not only to the 
family circle, but to relatives and neighbors, 
to all indeed who knew her. 

Early in the spring of 1869, God sent the 
little sister who was henceforth to be the joy 



The Valley of Life, ^y 

of her life. This babe was of quite a different 
type, of an exceeding!}^ delicate, nervous or- 
ganization, sensitive and shy in an uncommon 
degree. She was quite a contrast to the brave 
baby Lou la. 

The rector of the parish baptized her, July 
18th, 1869, by the name of Elizabeth, which 
was soon contracted to Bessie or Bess. 

The dear lamb behaved very sweetly, making 
no objection when the rector took her in his 
arms, and smiled when the sin- cleansing waters 
flowed over her forehead and she was signed as 
one of Christ's flock. Truly the ''Seal of 
Heaven" was on both of these little ones 
*' from their birth." That all must allow who 
can look back, and see them as they walked 
hand in hand through life's valley, the peace 
of God in their hearts, and the silver cross, the 
mark of the redeemed, always shining to 
angel ken, upon their fair white brows. 

In her babyhood the little Bessie was a per- 
fect mimosa plant, shrinking from the touch of 
even the friendliest hand that was not of the 
home circle. No entreaty, no playful wile 
could tempt her from her mother's arms. 



38 The Happy Valley, 

After all plans that ingenuity could invent had 
been tested, one would be obliged to leave her 
there, where only she appeared perfectly at 
rest, with her head lying on her mother's- 
shoulder, nestled closely, looking shyly out at 
you from her half-veiled eyes, the long dark 
lashes probably moistened wirh tears ; and 
though one could not but lov.^ tiie tender little 
creature, still this peculiarity prevented her 
from being such a general favorite as the frank,, 
merry Loula. 

The lirst years of her life, her nerves being sO' 
excitable, it followed in natural consequence 
that her health was uncertain, and the frail 
delicate blossom needed watchful and ever 
fostering care. She loved all her home folk s, 
but the dear mother and little sister were the 
tiny baby's special delight — to rest in the 
arms of one, and watch the gambols of the 
other, her state of entire satisfaction and en- 
joyment. And so their gentle lives rolled on 
until they grew large enough to play out of 
doors, when a new world of happiness was 
opened to them in the llower-life of the dear 
old garden, and with which they became so- 



The Valley of Life. 39 

identified, Loula especially, that recollections 
of them are indissolnbly interwoven with each 
plant and bush and fragrant bloom. 

Gradually Bessie gained in strength, and 
they were so very happy together at their in- 
nocent play; though, through her earlier years, 
she always liked to keep the "sweet mother" 
in sight if possible. They were not at any time 
of their lives, or in any sense like the morbid, 
prematurely wise children we read of ; they 
were just like other children except in an 
under current of religious feeling, which was 
certainly remarkable. 

They were trained as soon as they could 
understand, to know and believe that they 
were God's children. Christian children by 
virtue of their baptism, signed and sealed to 
His loving service, and they always rested in 
that belief. Probably no shadow of a doubt 
ever crossed their minds but that they were in 
very truth and reality the lambs of the Good 
Shepherd. 

They were led daily to bow upon their knees, 
and make their wants known to their Heaven- 
ly Father, and they loved to pray. Although 



40 The Happy Valley. 

living in such an isolated position that they 
were deprived of the educating influence of the 
continued services of the Church, service beinor 
held in the Yalley only once in each month, 
still they were kept in constant remembrance 
of the teachings of the Churcli ; as the "sweet 
mother" ever}^ Lord's Day, with lier boys 
around her, went over the Psalter and Lessons 
and Catechism, doing all that could be done to 
make up for the want of sanctuary privileges 
which she so deeply deplored ; taking for them 
the Church papers, making them soldiers of 
Dr. Twing's "Army," keeping the mite chest 
in sight, and celebrating with them the festi- 
vals of the Holy Year. They took great inter- 
est in the sufferings and patience of ''Doris," 
and were loving and frequent contributors to 
the "Churchman's Cot." 

It was a touching sight and a fearful I'eproof 
to those who live so neglectfully within sound 
of the church bells, to see how a cliurch life 
was maintained in this home, so far away in this 
quiet valley. And the Great Head of the 
Church has accepted and blessed the effort, in 
showing what a gracious influence the training 



The Valley of Life, 41 

exerted on these little ones, giving to them, 
even in their early years, fully rounded and 
healthily developed Christian characters. 

There are surely no ways so certain in their 
final ending as the patlis laid out for little feet 
to walk in by the teaching of the Holy Catholic 
Church. Would not the germ of spiritual life 
imparted at Baptism, grow and flourish and 
bring forth fruit with more certainty, if mothers 
felt their resiDonsibility more earnestly, and 
kept day by day closely in the good old ways, 
as they lead their little ones on in the paths 
of Christian duty ? 

These darlings too, by the circumstances that 
surrounded them, were cut off from the contam- 
inating influences of society. Their lives were 
pure and bright as that of the birds that flitted 
and sang around them ; they knew nothing of 
the feverish excitements that sap out the phys- 
ical vitality of city children, and brush the love- 
ly purple bloom from off the fruit of their lives. 
Fashion, late hours, and glare of gas, were all 
unknown to them. They knew no pleasures 
but such as were life-giving to soul and body. 
The light in which they revelled, was that of 



42 The Happy Valley, 

God's blessed sunshine ; their laces and jewels 
were buds and flowers, and their dance the gay 
romp on the green grass, with the bird voices 
for music. Ah, was not the life path for them 
indeed laid through a Happy Valley ? 

As Loula grew she developed the most in- 
tense love for flowers; tliey appeared to be liv- 
ing things to her ; she drank in their s})irit and 
understood the sentiments they breathed. She 
w^ould stand with dreamy eyes gazing upon a 
pure white lily, or would seem to be touched 
with a rapturous exstacy by the crimson petals 
of arose— and again she would laugh and shout 
in merry glee at the quaint faces of the ])ansies 
or the funny little hooded visages of the sweet 
peas. One could fancy that like "Eva the sin- 
less child" of the old poem, she saw the flower 
spirits and lived and loved and laughed and 
talked with them. 

She flitted about the garden like a humming 
bird, searching around every plant and bush, 
and was the flrst to spy a new bud coming, or 
a flower unfolded, and then she would come 
bounding in the house with the intelligence, 
her clear bright eyes aglow with pleasure, and 



The Valley of Life, 43 

some one had to go out to enjoy the new-found 
treasure with her. 

In the sprmg of 1873 the" sweet mother" being 
very much out of health, she went to pass some 

time at her father's house at E , and be 

under the care of a physician there. Loula 
was at this time a little more than six years 
old, and accompanied her mother and cousin, 
while four-year-old Bessie was left at home in 
the care of her loving auntie. 

They feared the little one would grieve over- 
muclij but she did not. She attached herself 
closely to her papa, following him everywhere, 
would expect him to carry her where the way 
was too long or too rough for little feet, and 
was particularly delighted at being set upon 
the plough when the men were ploughing. 

Her papa put a little calf in the yard for her 
amusement, and in playing with it she took 
the greatest satisfaction. She talked to it as if 
it were another child, and the animal became 
devoted to the frail little girl. This calf was 
sent, as is the custom in that section, up to the 
mountain pastures for the summer. Here it ran 
for months and became very wild, but when it 



44 The Happy Valley. 

was brought home again in the autumn it re- 
cognized its playmate of the spring-time, and 
was entirely gentle to her, letting her lead it 
about wherever she wished. 

The visit to E , the companionship of the 

several families of little cousins, and the many 
delights that a child always finds in the home 
of its grandparents. Lulu enjoyed to the full ; 
but amid all she found work to do for her dear 
Saviour. 

While she was staying at the house of her 
aunt, a little boy, a child of one of the tenants 
on the place, would persist in coming in the 
3^ard to play with Loula and her cousins. He 
was a fine stout-looking child, but very bad 
and disobedient. He was forbidden to come 
there, but he was determined to be with Loula, 

and no commands of Mrs. C , the lady of 

the house, or threats from his mother, could 
keep him away. 

Loula was always gentle and kind to him, 
and although her mother had every confidence 
in her little girl, still she could not help, know- 
ing what a naughty child he was, feeling some- 
what worried at xXwxx being so much together. 



The Valley of Life. 45 

Day after day they would go away together 
for a time, the family knew not where, until 

finally Loula's mamma sent her cousin L 

to seek for them and see what they were doing. 
After some search she heard their voices in a 
room in a distant corner of the house. She lis- 
tened quietly to hear what they were talking 
about, and she heard Loula telling poor little 
Jim about the blessed Jesus, how He came 
down from His beautiful home, how He lived 
with the people in this world, hoAv He loved 
little children if they were good, and how He 
died. — Jim listened as if entranced while she 
so sweetly and earnestly told him the old, old 
story. 

Of course, the listener withdrew and left the 
child to her saintly work. Still day after day 
he came, and they went away together, doubt- 
less to recount the same beautiful story over 
and over again. No one spoke to Loula about 
it. She however told her mother one day that 
poor little Jim never heard of Jesus until she 
told him of Him. 

After they returned home, they received news 
of his sudden death. He died of croup after a 



46 The Happy Valley. 

very short illness. Loula seemed so very glad 
and thankful that she had done what she could 
for the ignorant child, and said with much pleas- 
ure, "Mother, I am so glad I told him about Je- 
sus, and that I read to him in that little **Pee}) 
of Day" book at aunty's, about God."' 

During this sojourn at E , she was invit- 
ed by two of her cousins to a dolls" tea party. 
The mother of the little cousins had baked 
cakes for them, and the table was very prettily 
set out. After they had taken their seats, and aU 
was settled in order, the litt'.egiris began, tak- 
ing pattern probably from what they had heard 
older folks say on similar occasions, to apolo- 
gize for their cakes, and other things, finding 
fault with them, wishing they were better, and 
the like expressions. Loula seemed troubled, 
and said in her sweet direct way, ' ' Oh, I think 
it is all so nice ;" and then, the tears coming 
in her blue eyes, in the midst of all her happi- 
ness, she said, " Just think, there are so many 
poor little children who would be so glad to 
get these good things, who never have any- 
thing like it in all their lives." 

These incidents show her tender feeling for 



The Valley of Life. 47 

others less favored than herself, both in tem- 
poral and spiritual things ; always thoughtful 
of others, always unconscious of self. This 
perfect forge tfulness of herself was a marked 
characteristic, and it gave her a quiet dignity 
and self-possession of manner that was very 
charming. 

On her seventh birthday her mamma gave 
her a little book entitled, ''Heavenward Paths 
for Little Feet.'" This book was ever after 
her daily companion, and when her mamma 
was too unwell to go with her, she would take 
her littie sister by the hand, and the two 
precious ones would go to their devotions, 
Loula reading the lessons and the prayers. 

One time, not long after the book was given 
her, she was quite ill for a short tim^, and she 
surprised her mother, by repeating so many 
appropriate verses from it, when she had not 
the least idea the child had learned them. 
"Mother," she said, " the verses in my little 
book are very beautiful. I have been think- 
ing of them." 



48 The Happy Valley, 

**Tis Jesus sends us sickness, 
So when in pain or ill, 
I'll try to bear it meekly, 
Because it is His will. 

"I'll think of Him who suffered 
Upon the cross for me, 
Can I not bear a little, 

My blessed Lord, for Thee ? 

*' It is Thy love that makes me 
To leave my merry play. 
To lie here still and quiet, 

And give up my own "way, 

*'Lord Jesus, give me patience, 
Lord Jesus, give me love, 
Lord Jesus, give hereafter 
A life with Thee above.'' 

Later in the evening she said, "Mother, these 
verses are so beautiful : 

"Through the night Thy Presence cheers us, 
In Thy shadow may we sleep, 

That no evil may come near us. 
Watch let angels round us keep. 

"In Thine arms, O Father, lying, 
Safe and blessed may we be. 

Sleeping as we would be dying, 
With our faces turned to Thee." 



The Valley of Life, 49 

'^That is so beautiful, mother, 

' With our faces turned to Thee: " 

Her mother was coniiiied to her bed for 
many months by illness, and every day she 
would bring her little book to read and pray 
by her bedside. No matter who was in the 
room, she had no self-consciousness ; she went 
on quietly with her usual directness of aim, 
allowing nothing to interfere or to divert her 
from the performance of her duty. 

There are touching reminiscences connected 
with her ministrations and instructions to a 

poor old woman, Chaney A , who lived in 

a cabin on her father's plantation, and did 
spinning and knitting for the family. 

She had been a vile sinner in her youth, and 
had a sad life behind her. Age was now press- 
ing upon her, and she v/as making an effort 
for a better life, in which the gentle mistress 
at the " Fort " was ever ready to help her. 

Loula took an especial delight in going to 

the lonely cabin, to take bodily comforts to 

the needy woman, and also to try to lead her 

in the ways o-f righteousness and truth. She 

4 



50 The Happy Valley. 

was so utterl}^ ignorant, so untaught in spirit- 
ual things, that the little child, so calm and 
trustful, sat before her like a mentor. 

She always took with her the little book, 
^'Heavenward Paths,'' and the old woman 
looked for it, and asked for it. Reading from 
that gave her foundation for the various teach- 
ings she employed, and her old pupil grew in 
grace under her simple instructions. 

One day her dear auntie went with her on 
one of these errands of love and mercy. 
Arriving at the cabin, she thought that Loula 
might be more fre ' to talk if she left her alcne, 
so she took the pail and Avent to the spring 
for some fresh cool water. AVhen she returned 
she lingered awhile outside, and she heard 
Loula reading : 

"And God shall wipe away all tears from 
their eyes ;" and then she added in explana- 
tion, ''You know that is when we get to 
Heaven." 

Old Chaney sat rocking back and forth and 
weeping. The child continued : 

" And there mil be no night there, either ;" 



The Valley of Life. 5' 

"isn't that delightful r "and there will be 

no pain there." 
The old woman asked wonderingly, Loula, 

is that so (" 

Thus the precious child led the poor creature 
on in a contemplation of the promised ]oys of 
Heaven, and made it all seem so beautiful to 

her. , , „. 

One of Chaney's nieces says that she was at 
her aunt's cabin at one time when Loulacame, 
and that she too retired, lest she should em- 
barrass the little girl, but that she heard her 
talking so sweetly she thought she must go m 
acrain, which she did, but that her presence 
did not seem to confuse her in the least, and 
that she went on reading and teaching as if no 
one was by. No thought of self found a place 
in her mind at such times; she was all ab- 
sorbed in the importance of the themes of 
which she was reading or speaking. At tHis 
visit she also taught the old woman a beauti- 
ful little prayer, about persons in affliction, 
which she told her she must say every night. 
This same niece also relates that at one time, 
when the two little girls came together to the 



52 The Happy Valley, 

cabin, her aunt lay sick in bed, and when they 
approached her bedside she stretched out her 
arms and they both knelt, while she placed 
her toil-worn hands upon their fair young 
heads, and blessed them ! Then Loula asked if 
she should read, and Bessie L oked about for 
something to feed the cat. She found noth- 
ing eatable but some dry hard bread. 

The next day they came back, and Bessie 
brought some meat with her from home to feed 
the half-starved pussie, but hid it, and called 
the cat aside to feed it without Chaney's 
knowledge, lest her feelings should be hurt 
that she had ffelt it was necessary to bring 
food from home for her pet. 

In the parlor of the old mansion there hangs 
a large engraving of the Crucifixion. On one 
occasion Loula led old Chaney in to see it, and 
explained it to her, in her own peculiar way, 
so childlike, and yet so jDlain and forci- 
ble. 

She gazed on the jncture, and listened to the 
story, and it all seemed to come home to her 
heart and understanding ; and she bowed down 
and wept bitterly, exclaiming, ''He died for 



The Valley of Life. 53 

me,'' while the child looked on with an ex- 
pression of half wonder in her eyes. 

It was a recital of that which she had known 
always ; it was a part of her life, interwoven . 
with every recollection. Her life was marked 
and divided by Christmas, and Easter and 
Trinity, her weeks by the ever recurring Lord's 
Day, her days opening ar.d closing with a 
•season of communion with this blessed Saviour ; 
and here was a woman of mature years, to 
whom it was all new ; to whom she, a little 
child, was revealing it step by step, and to 
whose darkened mind it came but dimly, the 
eyes of whose spirit seemed to see only, '' men, 
as trees walking." 

Thanks be to God, that led by the little 
<5hild, there is hope that she was taken out of 
the darkness of this spiritual night into the 
perfect day, and rested beneath the healing 
rays of the Sun of Eighteousness. 

Of what infinite value in a home is a holy 
picture. Words can never impress a scene or 
a truth on the heart of a child, as does the 
fixed reDresentation before its eyes every day, 
if so be that thp picture is a good and reverent 



54 ^/^^ Happy Valley. 

one ; and the memory of such a window of 
Heaven upon the walls of the early home, may 
be a guiding and preserving star through life. 

This poor woman at last became so ill, that 
she needed constant care and could not be left 
any longer alone, and she was removed some 
distance away to the home of her son, where, 
after months of bitter suffering, she died. 

It was the privilege of the writer to minister 
to her during her last days. She was still very 
ignorant, but humble and patient, and I never 
saw her that she did not talk of "that blessed 
child." It was the one unfulfilled wish of her 
heart, that she might look upon her face once 
more before she passed away. She seemed to 
apprehend the atonement of the Saviour, to 
put her trust fully in His merits, and to be 
truly and sincerely penitent for the short-com- 
ings and sins of her life. 

Anything that I read to her, that she recog- 
nized as having been heard before from l/oula's 
lips, would light up her wasted features. She 
had a sweet saintly old face, that must have 
been beautiful in her youth. She was very 
fond of the hymn " Rock of Ages," and I read 



The Valley of Life. 55 

it to her oft 3:1 Sho was to have received the 
Holy Comm union the next dciy after I paid 
her my last visit, but ere the d.iy dawned, the 
Lord had called her away. We trust she is 
one of those who will drink new wine with 
Him hi His eternal and glorious kingdom. 

Her funeral was a sad one. It was held in 
the parish church. Only a few present, a rainy 
day, with thunder continually muttering in 
the distance. As she had been lei to the 
Saviour's feet by a little child, it was meet 
tha' a little child's voice, a clear, pure boy's 
soprano, should sing over her remains, her 
favorite " Rock of Ages," and it seemed like 
a song of triumph as the tones rang out so 
tenderly and so full of expression. 

*' 'Rock of ages, cleft for me,' 
Sung above a coffin lid, 
Underneath all restfully 
All life's joys and sorrows hid. 

Never more, O storm-tossed soul, 
Never more from Aviad and tide, 

Never more from billov.'s' roll, 
Wilt thou need thyself to hide. 



56 The Happy Valley. 

Could the sightless, sunken eyes, 
Closed beneath the soft gray hair, 

Could the mute and stiffened lips 
Move again in pleading prayer — 

Still, aye still, the words would be, 
*Let me hide myself in Thee.' " 

As we stood at the grave, while the holy- 
office of the Church was being said, a tierce 
thunder storm broke over us, and the noise of 
the thunder mingled with that of the falling 
rain, was louder than the rector's voice. 
There she lies, sleeping upon an eastern slope 
in the God' s-acre, her face turned toward the 
rising sun, and we trust that her ransomed 
spirit will be a star in dear Loula' s crown oi re- 
joicing, for all eternity. 

In the autumn of 1873, another baby brother 
was added to the household group. When 
the little girls were taken in to see the new 
comer, they were greatly astonished ; Loula 
was deeply affected, but as soon as she couid 
speak, she said, "Mother, we will bring tJds 
boy up right, we will bring him up for God." 
And faithfully did both little sisters strive for 
that end. They taught him, constantly, such 



The Valley of Life, 57 

things as they could to help him to be a good 
child, and always told him over and ove?, that 
he was Jesus' little lamb. They loved him 
and prayed for him, and w^ere so much delight- 
ed with his innocent baby ways. 

In the summer of 1875, the writer spont sev- 
eral weeks at the old mansion. In daily 
intercourse with these little children, I learned 
to love them very dearly, although they had 
long lain near my heart ; still I saw more of 
them, and could study their simple every-day 
life, and understand their characters as I had 
never been able to do before. Loula was the 
most brave, practical and helpful of the two ; 
Bessie the most imaginative. Both were gen- 
tle, obedient and affectionate. 

They always met me when I came out of my 
room irt the morning, so cheerfully, with 
freshly-gathered flowers and a sweet greeting, 
I used frequently to take them both, and 
with a book, perhaps, in my hand, go out in 
the graveyard and sit down there to read and 
think. They would play about me quietly, 
gathering flowers or grasses, and reading the 
inscriptions on the tombstones. 



58 The Happy Valley, 

Loiila once called my attention to a little 
stone, and I read thereon the name of 

"Elizabeth Lenoir, 

Daughter of William Lenoir, 

Born Feb. loth, 1783, 

Died March 22nd, 1785." 

She said, ' ' This baby has lain here a long 
time." 

I replied, ' ' Yes, Loiila, ninety years ; and its 
spirit has been ninety years in Paradise.'' 

She gazed thoughtfully upon the turf-clad 
mound for a few moments, and then asked, 

"Do you think she has groTVTi old there, or 
is she a little baby yet ?'• 

I saw how her mind had grasped the two 
facts — that of the tiny body lying here in 
the little grave at our feet, so small, '* only a 
foot or two at most of star-daisied sod," and 
the lapse of ninety years, which must seem 
such a long period to the ideas of a child, con- 
necting with it the thought of a person ninety 
years of age ; and it was indeed a perplexing 
problem for the youthful hit^'llect. We sat 
down then under a cedar trep, and talked a 



The Valley of Life. 59 

long time about the blessed dead in Paradise, 
and of their continual progression without age 
or decay of faculties, and I was struck with 
the ready comj)rehension she evinced, not 
sajdng very much, but drinking in all I said on 
the subject with a clearness of perception, as 
I could realize from her few remarks and 
answers to the questions put to her, that 
gratified me very much. 

She also assisted me in making a copy of 
the epitaph from Gen. Lenoir's tomb-stone, 
which is already recorded in these pages. 
The marble has crumbled and the edges of 
the letters worn off, so that they have become 
very illegible. We had to go out in the bright 
sunshine to decipher them, and she took great 
interest in tracing them with her finger and 
spelling out for me w r 1 after word. 

She was a very comp-.mionable child, and 
without impressing one with the least idea of 
precociousness or forwardness, she would, in 
an unassuming way, prove herself excellent 
company even to a grown person. 

On a walk she sav/ everything that was beau- 
tiful ; wild flowers, a richly tinted leaf, a shin- 



6o The Happy Valley. 

ing stone, the lichens upon the rocks, the min- 
nows and darting bugs nijon the water ; all the 
varied objects and incidents gave her so much 
pleasure, and she spoke of them so intelli- 
gently. 

One of the pets of the plantation was ' ' Old 
Button." He was an Indian pony, a short, 
stout-built animal with a shaggy mane, that 
had formerly been the property of Loula's 
grandfather. He was in his ripe old age, good- 
natured and faithful, and he afforded the little 
girls much amusement. 

They would go to the stable and bring him 
out themselves, lead him to the block, put a 
sheep-skin across his back, then both mount 
him, andaway they would go down to the river 
bank to give him drink. They would crawl 
over him and under him, tumble about and 
frolic with him, laughing merrily without a 
thought of fear. 

As "The Fort" is five miles or more from 
the post-office, it is the custom of the good 
cousin who lives at "Palmyra," the fine old 

hom-^stead of G-en. P . when he sends for 

his own mail, to bring that for "The Fort," as 



The Valley of Life. 6i 

far as his house, which is about half way, and 
it is sent for there. Loula used often in pleas- 
ant weather to go up for it on Old Button. 

The quaint little maiden with a riding-skirt 
over her dress, a white sun-bonnet on, and a 
calico bag hanging on the horn of the saddle, 
would ride off quietly, fording the Yadkin on 
the way, and, after maldng a call, looking at 
her cousin's llowers, or any other object of in- 
terest that the time might present, return with 
the papers and letters in the bag, enjoying her 
ride of four or five miles so much. 

Old Button became useless the last year of 
his life, but he was well cared for until he de- 
parted, full of years and of honors, on the 21st 
of October, 1876, in the thirty-first year of his 
age. 

In the spring of 1875, when Bessie was en- 
tering her seventh year, it was judged advisa- 
ble to send her to school. It seemed almost 
cruel to make the shrinking, timid child go 
away from home, and from her mother, and 
stay all day with strangers, but it was doubt- 
less just what she needed to counteract these 
peculiarities and to cultivate a degree of self- 



62 The Happy Valley. 

reliance in her. Lou la took such good care of 
her, and did everything to encourage her, still 
it came very hard. 

One morning I remember they started off, 
Bessie going very unwillingly, after we had 
talked to her of the beauty of being a " school- 
girl," and tried to make the school-room seem 
attractive to her. Soon Loula returned alone, 
with a very troubled face, telling her mother 
that Bessie was sitting down by the creek cry- 
ing ; that she could not induce her to tell her 
what for, or to go any farther. She was told 
to go and bring her back, which she did. 
When she came in she rushed to her mother 
and threw her arms about her neck, saying : 

'' Mother, I am not a naughty girl, but I 
was just thinking if anything happened to 
you or the baby while I was away, Avhat 
should I do, and I could not go on." And 
she sobbed passionately. 

The mother's eyes filled with tears, and it 
would only have been obeying the dictates of 
her yearning heart, if she had given up to the 
feeling, and kept the trembling little creature 
at her side ; but she felt that it was a decisive 



The Valley of Life. 63 

moment, and after soothing her somewhat, 
she firmly compelled her to go on with her 
sister to school. 

She came home in the evening very bright 
and cheerful, and yielded the succeeding days 
quietly to the necessity laid upon her, though 
I often observed a sigh, and a looking back as 
if she fain would stay by "mother and the 
baby," if she could be allowed to do so. 

Her imagination was vivid, and I noticed 
that in her little plays she seemed to make the 
childish jDretences strong realises. Loulawas 
not without a fanciful vein in her character, 
but the dividing line between fact and fancy 
was more clearly defined in her mind, and 
the ''make believes" never became as real to 
her as to her little sister. 

I heard the child sobbing out in the porch 
one day, and fearing 3 he was hurt, went out to 
comfort her. On asking, 

' ' Bessie, what is the matter ?' ' she said — 
"Mother has killed my baby." 

This was all she would tell me, but Loula 
came and explained, that she had made a 
baby for Bess by tying a string around the 



64 The Happy Valley, 

end of tlie cradle pillow, and dressing it up in 
the soiled clothes of the little brother ; that 
Bessie had rocked it to sleep in the cradle and 
left it while she went in the garden for a time. 
During her absence her mamma, in gathering 
up the wash for the servant, had taken the 
clothes off the pillow, shaken it up and put it in 
its place ; and when the child returned to the 
cradle she found her play broken up. At once 
she commenced crying, with the exclamation : 
''Mother has killed my baby I" and— Loula 
said — refused to be comforted. She was not in 
any way out of temper about it, but seemed 
perfectly . heart-broken, and only wept the 
more as we tried to divert her mind to other 
things. At last her auntie took her away up- 
stairs, where she sobbed herself to sleep. As 
she grew older this sensitiveness was in a 
measure overcome ; she was more unifonnly 
cheerful, less shy, and enjoyed everything so 
much. She became plu.up and rosy and 
graceful, and the two little sisters were very 
happy together. 

They Avere quite a contrast in personal ap- 
pearance as well as in character. 



The Valley of Lije. 65 

Loiila was a perfect blonde. Very fair hair, 
straight and fine and soft as silk ; a complex- 
ion of pearly whiteness, upon which the rosy 
tints were like the hues of her own beloved 
blush-roses. Her eyes were light blue, wide, 
very wide open, clear as a mountain lake, 
with an expression of honest frankness in 
them, toned down at times by a far-off, 
dreamy look, as shades of thought passed 
over her mind, but always looking square at 
one when she spoke or was being spoken to. 
Her figure was healthily developed, and the 
atmosphere surrounding her was restful and 
cheerful. 

Bessie had brown hair, soft, wavy and 
abundant. Her eyes were an undefined gray, 
over which the long dark lashes always cast a 
shadow. Her complexion was pure and waxen, 
and her expression pensive and very sweet. In 
feature she was the most beautiful of the two, 
and her whole air was one of tenderness and 
grace. 

For years Loula sat as the little priestess at 
the table to call down the blessing of God upon 
the family meals. The duty was performed 

5 



66 The Happy Valley. 

with grave and reverent earnestness. She used 
several forms, varying as she desired, some of 
them in verse : 

" Be present at our table, Lord, 
Be here and every where adored ; 
These creatures bless, and grant that we 
May feast in Paradise with Thee.'' 

And, — 

"We thank Thee, Lord, for tiiis our food, 
And more because of Jesus' blood ; 
Let manna to our souls be given, 
The Bread of Life, sent down from Heaven." 



Or,— 



" Come, good Lord, and be our Guest, 
What Thou hast given, by Thee be blest. 



The spirit of i^rayer really lived in these 
little children. Bessie was particularly a child 
of i^rayer. She was never satisfied until she 
had been with her mother to the place where it 
was their custom to retire for devotion, and 
after the sacred obligation had been performed, 
she would seem so happy, and go singing away. 
Not long before the close of her life she went 
with her mother several miles from home to 
visit some relatives. In the hurry of getting 



The Valley of Life. 67 

off at an early liour, the inoruing prayers to- 
gether were neglected; but as soon as they 
reached their destination, and the greetings 
were over, she came and whispered, ''Mother, 
let us go and say our prayers ; we did not say 
them this morning." And she could not be 
satisfied until they had sought a place of re- 
tirement and offered up the usual supplica- 
tions to the Heavenly Father's throne. Then, 
with His benediction on her youthful head, she 
was ready to enter into the enjoyment of the 
visit. 

And how they loved the Church services, the 
dear voices joining clearly in the responses, 
while their whole demeanor was so reverent 
and attentive. 

But the simple tale of the beautiful life- 
journey is drawing to a close. It was all 
brightness to the end. 

On Friday, the 31st day of August, 1877, the 
darlings came home from school for the last 
time— ah, who could know that it was the last 
time— that all life's lessons were learned, and 
earth' s schooling done \ 

Saturday morning, Sept. 1st, Loula said, 



68 The Happy Valley. 

'' Mother, we have been in school all the week, 
and now we must have this whole day to play 
with our dolls, can't we T' 

Having the mother' s hearty assent, they skip- 
ped off so delighted. How that mother's heart 
was touched, when, weeks after, she gathered 
courage to go into that doll-room, where every- 
thing remained just as they had left it at even- 
ing after that happy play-day, only a mother 
who has been herself bereaved can understand. 
They had quantities of rag dolls, made by their 
own deft little fingers, and had families ar- 
ranged in various positions. The garments they 
had been making on that Saturday lay there 
with the needles at the last stitch— how unut- 
terably sad the sight to poor human weakness ! 
— but sweet the thought that the last day was 
one of such innocent pleasure. 

The sun went down. The little feet had fin- 
ished their journey, and would no more be 
stained with the dust of earth. They were 
treading in that solemn border land, upon the 
verge of the purple shadow, but all eyes were 
holden. 

The week closed as other weeks. No sound 



The Valley of Life, 69 

was on earth or in air to warn of the events of 
the week to come. 

The good-nights were spoken, the kisses giv- 
en, the evening prayers said, and the children / 
and the household slept. 

The angels were setting the golden gates 
ajar ; the ministering spirits were receiving 
their commissions to stand by the bed of suf- 
fering ; loving ones in paradise were in ex- 
pectant waiting, to welcome to their midst two 
more redeemed ; but in the old home in the 
Happy Valley, untouched by apprehension or 
by fear, the children and the household slept. 

"■ God keeps a niche 
In Heaven to hold our idols; and albeit 
He brake them to our faces, and denied 
That our close kisses should impair their white— 
I know we shall behold them raised, complete — 
The dust swept from their beauty — glorified, 
New memnons singing in the great God light.'' 



THE VALLEY OF 
SHADOW. 



THE 




•'So oft the doing (.f God's will 

Our foolish wills undoeth I 
And yet what idle dream breaks ill 
Which morning light subdueth ? 
And who would murmur and misdoubt 
When God's great sunrise finds him out? " 

?f HE morning of the Lord's Day broke 
over the mountains. That '' day of 
rest and gladness,'- so full of heav- 
enly hope and comfort. Countless voices had 
been raising up the prayer, in the far east, 
and repeated o'er and o'er again as the king 
of day rolled on in sj)lendor, until at last his 
rays tinted the tree -tops on the heights that 
bounded the "Happy Yalley ;" — that prayer 
so needed by this family group, upon whom 
a shadow, so dark as to be felt at midday, was 
falling. ''Give them patience under their suf- 
ferings, and a happy issue out of all their 



The Valley of the Shadow. 71 

afflictions ; and this we ask for Jesns Christ 

sake. Amen." 

What a blessed thought, when the day 
dawns upon us after a night of sorrow, that the 
wave of pi-ayer that is ever encircling the earth 
is rollino- on to me^t 11s with the morning light, 
and that it is ever ceaselessly arising in our 
behalf Is not that the sacred fire that ever 
burns before Jehovah, the lamp that never goes 
out ■>' Those blessed prayers of the Holy Cath- 
olic Church for all sorts and conditions of men, 
rolling on in solemn grandeur, ' ' girding eartli_, 
filling the air, until the round world is encir- 
cled as with an aureole. 

The soul that in its dark hours can grasp 
this fact and realize itself a unit with the 
beseeching hosts of God's people, must surely 
find sweet consolation in it. It leaves no place 
for loneliness, for we are one with millions who 
are praying with and for us, and there is no 
moment in the cycle of the day when there is 
not a priest somewhere leading his people in 
this supplication. 

And so the Lord's day morning broke. A 
Sabbath benediction rested upon the hills, 



72 The Happy Valley. 

%.^ 
and the Valley wore its usual smile of 
peace. 

The household awaked to its accusronied 
life, and the morning duties went on. 

At the breakfast table Loula told her mother 
that about midnight her throat rommeaced 
feeling uncomfortable and was a little sore ; 
but she did not complain much, and seemed 
very cheerful. After breakfast, however, her 
mother looked into her throat, and she discov- 
ered a small vrhite speck — ah, fatal plague 
spot I— and told her she thought she had a 
small ulcer there. 

She did not appear to feel very well as the 
morning Avore on, and after lying awhile on 
her mother's bed, went np-stairs to her room, 
and did not come down to dinner. One of 
her brothers, who attended school at a dis- 
tance, was at home, and he waited upon her 
so gladly, taking her dinner up to her, which 
she enjoyed. 

Soon after, he left, as he had to return to be 
at school on Monday morning. He went up 
and kissed Loula good-bye, and took sweet 
Bessie in his aims, kissed her, and told her 



The Valley of the Shadow. 73 

j^ 
not to get sick, and went away. What would 
have been his feelings if he had known he 
would never see their loved faces again ! 

Her mother continued treating her with the 
ordinary household remedies, and soon after 
the brother had gone she looked in her throat 
again, when she found that the speck had 
spread and appeared different from anything 
she liad ever S' en. Her brother Walter saw it 
too, and at onco insisted upon going for the 
doctor. He saddled his horse and started for 
the nearest physician, who lived ten miles 
away, over the mountain. AYhile he was gone 
she coughed up the membrane and seemed to 
a great extent relieved. 

Bessie played with the baby brother most 
of the day, and about nightfall she told her 
mother with tears in her eyes that she felt 
very badly, and her throat was sore. 

When the doctor came, in the evening, he 
did not seem t ) be alarmed about them, and 
quieted the mother when she expressed her 
fears that it was diphtheria. Walter was soon 
taken with similar symptoms, and he pre- 
scribed for all three. 



74 The Happy Valley, 

At midnight Bessie's symptoms became ag- 
gravated. She suffered very much from nausea, 
and her throat was so painful, but she was per- 
fectly meek and submissive. Slie allowr^d her 
throat to be washed, and took very bitter medi- 
cine uncomplainingly. None saw one sign of 
impatience or heard one murmur during her ill- 
ness. 

All day Monday she talked and noticed ev- 
erything. In the morning and in the evening 
she asked, '' Mother, let's say our prayers." She 
seemed to enjoy the devotions so much and was 
peaceful and satisfied in them. The mother 
having slept none the night before, left the chil- 
dren in care of the rest of the family and went 
to bed on Monday night. Dui-ing the night 
the disease made rapid pi'ogi-ess upon Bessie. 
When her mother came down to her in the 
morning she saw it, and felt almost paralyzed 
with the fear that her gentle little darling was 
indeed going from her. 

She mopped out the poor swollen throat, 
which painful operation the child endured so 
patiently, gave her the bitter medicine, which 



The Valley of the Shadow. 75 

she took willingly, a.id tlien with a sweet smile 
came that touching refiain— _ 

'' iSIow, mother, let's say our prayers. 

She repeated distinctly tlie prayers herselt, 
saying every word after her mother, and then 
was comforL and h.y qnietly sufiering whde 
the poor mother' s heart was well nigh breaking. 

She dared not rebel— 

" But slie must weep, 
As her pale placi.l martyr sinks to sleep, 

Teaching so well and silently, 
How at the Shephcr.i's call the lamb should d.e. 

AH day Monday Loula was getting on luite 
^^ell, though her symptoms were more alarm- 
ing from the first than her little sister s. She 
wi bright and cheerful, and so loving to 
Tabou't her, thankful for -ery little kind- 
ness and attention, and so troubled that she 
could not be up and helping the rest. 

On Tuesday morning, when the -ndition o 
the little one became hopeless her mother 
thought it best to tell her of it, deeming 
better that she should know the sorrow as it 
developed, than to keep her in ignorance of 



76 The Happy Valley, 

the facts, and have hei- unprepared for what 
she saw must follow ; so on Tuesday, when she 
asked after Bessie, she told her, "Bessie is 
worse." 

Loula replied — 

" Oh, precious mother, I am sure that sweet 
Bessie is ready to die, for last Friday morning 
as we lay in our little bed, she put her arms 
around my neck and told me she did not think 
she would stay liere much longer." 

Her mother asked — 

"Darling, do you think she wanted to die?" 
' "Oh, yes," she replied, "she said she wanted 
to go to Heaven." 

During Tuesday morning little Bessie failed 
rapidly, and her utterance was much obstruct- 
ed. Near noontide, just before she became 
speechless, again, and for the last time, she 
said, "Mother, let us go round to the other 
house and say our prayers." 

She desired to go to the wonted place where 
their daily devotions were offered up. Her 
mother reminded her that God was right at her 
side, and could hear her as well there as else- 
where, and she was content. This call to prayer 



The Valley of the Shadow, 77 

were the last words she spoke ; she remained 
speechless, though for a time conscious. 

A little while before she breathed her last, 
the stricken mother went up-stairs to see Lou- 
la. When she started to come down again, 
Loula said — 

"Dear mother, tell Bessie good-bye for me." 

The Holy Comforter surely supported lier as 
she went down to her bedside, and asked the 
precious child, if she knew her mother. The 
little sufferer opened her eyes and gazed upon 
her, and then she told her that Loula wished 
her to tell her "good-bye" — and she knelt 
down and asked the Heavenly Father to re- 
ceive the departing spirit ; and was then com- 
pelled to leave the room, after which she saw 
her no more alive. 

Oh, the blessed power and strength of the 
religion of our Lord Jesus Christ, that could 
support this timid, shrinking child, and lead 
her on so calmy and trustingly down into the 
dark Valley of the Shadow of Death ! Strong 
men, old Christians, looked on wonderingly to 
see this little one, all conscious of her condition, 
leaving her earth-life, and all that had made 



78 The Happy Valley. 

that life so intensely dear, leaving home and 
mother, and all to which she had clung with 
such tenacity, without a murmur, going out to 
the spirit world so fearlessly. It was the lamb 
reclining on the Good Shepherd's bosom, as 
He bore it safely through the darkness to the 
green pastures of the Better Land. 

Just before she parsed away, she looked 
steadily, and for a moment affrightedly behind 
the bed, as if she saw something which terri- 
fied her, and then she pulled up the bed 
clothes over her face. Her papa drew them 
away, and when she looked up again, she 
seemed to see only a vision of beauty, for lier 
face fairly shone with exstatic delight, and the 
rapturous smile remained upon the marble face 
until it was hidden from mortal view. 

And so the gentle spirit fled, peacefu]l3\ ^^av- 
ing the very impress of lieavenly joy, the earn- 
est of answered prayeis, upon her countenance, 
at five o'clock on Tuesday evening, September 
4th. 

During Tuesday night Loula became desper- 
ately ill. She had been impressed with the idea 
from the first that she would never recover, but 



The Valley of the Shadow. 79 

now it seemed to be revealed to her as a certaiu- 
tv She was sufieri.ig fearftrlly, her throat 
swelling both sides, and she told h"- cou..n 
who was nttrsing her, that she -uld su>vly 
die ; but they tried to keep her from talking 

'^Wednesday morning, she said. "Cousin 
Lou, I am going to die. God has told me 



so." 



"How, darling?" 

" He has made me know it." 

" Well. Loula, if God should call you away, 
would you be willing to go r' 

She quietly folded her hands and rephed 
with great earnestness, "Fer/ec%." 

Presently, raising up in bed, she asked, 
.'Have I been too wicked r When her cousin 
assured her that Christ could forgive «Z? stn, 
she rejoined, " Dear Jestrs, if He will take me, 
I am ready to go." She also said, soon after ; 
"Cousin Lou, I have seen a beautiful angel 
with a face like my mother's, and it wanted me 
to go to Heaven to live ;" and then, with wide 
open eyes and in a whisper, she added, and it 
wants Bess too." And again she said, "I saw 



8o The Happy Valley, 

cousin Carrie (a cousin who had been dead for 
some time), and oh, I loved her so much !" she 
asked for her father, and after expressing the 
most tender affection for him, told him, " Dear 
papa, lam going to die, and I want to tell you 
what to put on my tombstone. " We love him 
because He once loved us. " 

The family could not bear to think of giving 
her up. The sweet, frail Bessie had always 
seemed a blossom more fitted for the airs of 
Paradise than for this rough storm-tossed 
world, and it had been a familiar thought 
with many that she might be early called away ; 
but Loula, so strong, so brave, so cheerful and 
helj)ful, for her, nothing but a life of loving 
usefulness was expected. No one ever ima- 
gined she might die. They could not give her 
up. Her cousin said — 

''But Loula, we hope you are not going 
to die ; be willing to live to comfort your 
mother." 

"Yes,*' she replied, "I would be a comfort to 
my mother, and I might help another soul to 
Heaven ; but if I should grow up wicked I 
should be sorry I did not die now." 



The Valley of the Shadow, 8i 

After a while slie asked, '' Can't my mother 
come to me % I want my mother to come and 
pray for me." 

Her dear mother came, so frail and weak, 
but supported by Divine help to a state of 
wonderful calmness. Loula held out her arms, 
with a bright smile upon her face, saying — 

"Oh, my precious mother, I do love you so 
much ! You are so dear to me." And then she 
asked three times how dear little Bessie was, 
not knowing that the spirit had been the night 
before released from the suffering clay. The 
physician advised that she should not be told 
of it. At last her mother said, " We hope she 
is better." 

Loula looked at her, and said with marked 
emphasis — 

" Oh, precious mother, I am sure I saw Bes- 
sie in Heaven last night. I saw her twice'' 

Then very calmly, and with a bright smile on 
her face — 

"Precious mother, I want to talk some with 

you now. I think I am going to die ; the 

angels have told me so, and precious, darling 

mother, God promised me last night that you 

6 



82 The Happy Valley. 

should come to m(\ uikI tluit darling papa 
should come, and He promised me that all, 
every one of the dear boys should come. Tell 
Gwyn, (Gwyn was the brother who was away 
at school, and not allowed to come home, Jiis 
tonsils being so large the disease was thought 
to be particularly dangerous for him), to be a 
faithful soldier ; that God has promised me he 
should come." 

She then asked her mother to forgive her 
any trouble she might have caused her, also 
called her faithful "Aunt Sade," who had 
been a second mother to both the little girls, 
and asked her forgiveness. They both assured 
her that they had nothing to forgive, that she 
had only been a comfort and a blessing to 
them . 

The family physician who had watched her 
w^itli loving interest, gave her some ice. She 
took it and said, "Oh, this is so good ; it re- 
freshes me so mnch. How good of God to give 
us ice, and to give us such friends, but best of 
all to give us Himself." She thanked the 
doctor for his care and attention, and said, 
*' You have all been so kind to me, and helped 



The Valley of the Shadow. 83 

me very much, but Jesus has helped me more 
than all." 

A few moments afterward he saw her look- 
ing upward so intently, and with such a lumi- 
nous face, he asked, " Loula, what are you look- 
ing at ?" She replied, " I see a beautiful angel. 
It is looking at me, and it is so beautiful." 

The ice was such a great comfort to her, that 
she begged her papa that he would always put 
up ice and keep it for the sick and fevered for 
her sake. He made a promise to her that he 
would do so, and it has been religiously kept. 
The sick from all about the country send to 
him for ice, and it is dispensed freely, in me- 
moriam. So that although she has passed from 
earth, she is still holding the cup of cold water 
to many a parched lip 

Her mother begged her not to talk ; told her 
that the doctor feared it would injure her, and 
that he wanted her to try and go to sleep. 
But she said, ''Oh, mother, God shows me such 
beautiful things that I cannot sleep ; but if you 
will say a prayer for me, and get close to me, 
I will try." 

And so she did sleep a little while, and then, 



84 The Happy Valley, 

opening her clear spiritual eyes, and gazing on 
her mother, she said, while the very " radiancy 
of glory," seemed to be reflected on her sweet 
face, and speaking as if she were already in the 
land of the blest : 

"Come to me, my precious mother, lean 
your tired head upon my bosom and rest. I told 
you that God said you slioiild come. And 
there comes darling papa, coming straight on, 
and there is Gwyn marching on like a brave 
soldier, and there is Walter." A look of pain 
crossed her bright angelic face, then bright- 
ening up again, she called so sweetly, "Come 
on, Walter ;" and with a smile, " don't you see 
him coming? Dear mother, Tommie has been 
sorely tempted, but he is coming right on now, 
and sweet little Rufus too ; he is coming, dar- 
ling mother, did I not tell you that God had 
promised me you should all come C 

This was no delirium, no result of morphia 
or other drugs. She had taken nothing to affect 
her brain, and was in a condition of perfect 
reason and consciousness, but one of exstatic 
exaltation. 

Her sympathy for all the family, and es- 



The Valley of the Shadow. 85 

pecially for her mother, in what they were 
enduring, was intense. Looking up at her 
mother, she exclaimed, "Your face is like an 
angel's, mother, sitting there so calm and 
sweet, but there is a terrible battle raging 
within." 

At another time she put her arms around 
lier mother's neck, saying, '* Oh, precious 
mother, I love you more than all the world, 
but I love Jesus more." When her papa left 
her bedside weeping, she said, "Darling papa, 
he is so good, I know he will go to hea- 
ven. 

She spoke again and again of the lovely 
angel with a face like her mother' s. "I love her 
better," she said, "than all the angels, and I 
call her my mother angel. I believe now," 
kissing her hand, "I love my earthly mother 
just a little better, but Jesus I love better than 
all." 

Her mother suggested that this angel might 
be her aunt Lizzie, the "Mrs. C." already re- 
ferred to, who since the time of that visit to 

E had passed away, but she said: "No, 

mother, it was you. I've seen my auntie 



86 The Happy Valley. 

twice, and I knew her ; she gave me a sweet 
smile but she did not speak." 

It was a singular coincidence that her 
mother had an older sister who died before 
Loula's birth, who was remarkably like her- 
self. 

At one time, speaking of herself and Bessie, 
while eating soni',- gia])e juice, she said, "We 
will miss all the grapes ;" and, after a pause, 
" We will miss GoW s worJc .'" 

She also called out to an unr aught girl, who 
was nurse to the little brotlier, "Margaret, 
you must come ; get your crutchts and come 
on." 

Her sufferings continued great, and she said, 
" Mother, last night I murmured against God, 
but I have prayed for forgiveness, and He has 
granted it, and I am so happy." 

Once, as in Bessie's case, a shadow of fear 
came over her as she looked in a darkened cor- 
ner, and asked her papa who that dark man 
was. Can it be that the tempter dared make 
an effort to approach these darlings ? 

Stopping in the midst of a sentence as she 
was talking, she raised her hands as in adora- 



The Valley of the Shadow. ^^ 

tion, and her face was almost transfigured. 
Those whose privilege it was to be present, say 
it was unearthly and indescribable in its radi- 
ant loveliness. Her whole frame was quiver- 
ing with an exstasy of joy, as she called 
out : 

''Look! Precious mother, don't you see 
Mm?" 

''Wlio, darling?" 

'' Jesus I Jesus I I do wish you could see him. 
1 did not Joiow anytlilng could he so loi^ely! 
Oh, I love him more than anything else !" 

In this she was firm. No matter how much 
they tried to entice her back to a wish for life 
and a consideration for human ties, the burden 
of the answer was always the same, to the 
effect that they were all inexpressibly dear to 
her, but that "Jesus" was dearest and loveli- 
est of all things. 

As this sorrowful Wednesday wore on, the 
dread disease gained the complete mastery, 
and it was evident that the end was near. In 
the afternoon her mother came into the room, 
and she said to her with joyful expression of 
voice and smiling face, cheerfully, as if she 



88 The Happy Valley. 

would fain comfort and strengthen her in the 
assurance : 

"Dear mother, I am dying I'' 

"Well, my darling, you are not afraid to 
die." 

"Oh, no." 

" You love the Saviour." 

" Yes, yes." 

Later lier suiferings increased, and at inter- 
vals her mind began to wander, but slie always 
responded to her mother's voice. When her 
mother said to her, ''Darling, do you know 
me'!!" she replied, s])paking with great diffi- 
culty, "Why, I would know my precious 
mother anywhere." • 

When her aunt bent ovei- lier. she said, 
"Aunt Sadie, move a little and let me see 
those beautiful things." 

Even in her last hours, she was always glad 
to hear the naiU'^ of Jesus, and showed her 
love for Him as long as she could. 

At one time she imagined slie was down liy 
the river, where she had been going to school, 
and she said, " I will go home now, it is getting 
dark. 1 cannot see my lessons any longer, but 



The Valley of the Shadow. 89 

now I have only these crosses to learn." Again 
she said, ' ' Open the gate and let me go through ; 
will no one open the gate'^" 

"I want to go home, but can't walk," she 
said, and rising up in the bed, she threw her- 
self upon her papa' s bosom, begging, piteously, 
'' Oh papa, take me home." 

They talked soothingly to her, and her cou- 
sin offered Jier a drink of water. She said 
softly, 'a will drink out of the river now." 

" But dear, this is sweet, cool water ; will 
you not have some ?" 

" No," she said, '' Cousin Lou, I will drink 
out of the river now." 

When the agony was so sharp, she exclaimed, 
*'0h, this suffering! But what is this suf- 
fering when compared to that glory f 

She had not been told of Bessie's death, but 
she seemed perfectly aware of it, and never 
talked of her as if they were to be separated. 
Just before the end she sprang up in the bed, 
and on her knees, held out both her hands, 
exclaiming rapturously, '^Oh, there is Bessie ! 
I see her now, right there,'' pointing as she 
spoke to an open window. 



90 The Happy Valley. 

Soon the light went out from her eyes, and 
the struggle was over. She murmured, " Bes- 
sie, Bessie, pretty, pretty," and the loving 
heart ceased to beat, the gentle voice was 
still, while the old clock recorded the hour — 
half-past ten ! 

" Slowly across the dark night sky, 
A crowd of white angels; are passing by; 
Like a fleet of swans they float along, 
On the silver notes of a dying song. 

Like a cloud of incense their pinions rise. 
Fading away up the purple skies, 
But liush I for the silent glory is stirred, 
By a strain such as earth has never heard." 

'^ We bring Thee back Thine own, O Lord, 
Rescued from earth and sin, 
O Paradise! Thy pearly portals ope 
And let these precious spirits in. 

We bring these eaiih flowers sweet, 

O Saviour, to Thy feet. 
In each one pure and undefiled, 

Behold thy child." 

Thursday morning, September 6th, dawned 
upon a heart broken family. Such a few days, 
and '^so much gone." The joy and pride of 



The Valley of the Shadow, 91 

the household sleeping in marble beauty, 
and a stillness of painful intensity brooding 
over all. 

They were laid side by side in the "little 
back room" looking like two angels, under 
their long white veils and amid fair Howers. 

" That life is long that answers life's great end," 

and although they were like flowers nipped 
in the bud. still their lives appear, as we look 
back at them now, so rounded and complete. 
that it does not seem as if their passing away 
was in any sense premature. 

They had done "'God's work," indeed, both 
in their lives and in their deaths, and they are 
victors now, through Him that loved us, 

" Little hands we sought to hold, 
Crossed upon that i)Osom cold, 
You had ble=sed work to do ; 
God has led us all by you'; 
Childhood's faith had made its sign ; 
Jesus stooped with love divine, 
And so sweet a look and tone, 
That the children followed on. 



92 The Happy Valley. 

Ah, dear Lord, how could we know 
Thou would'st lure our darlings so ? 
Yet amid our tears and pain, 
We would not win them back again." 

On Thursday afternoon they were carried by 
tender hands to their rest. The Holy Office of 
the Church was said, the dust to dust was 
given, and they were laid down in one grave. It 
is in the old grave yard, near the feet of their 
grandparents, and in the same row of little 
mounds in which is the one before spoken of, 
over which the summer's sun and winter's frost 
and cold, have alternated for more than ninety 
years. 

A beautiful monument of Italian marble is 
reared above their resting-place. It is sur- 
mounted by the Cross, the symbol of that Jesus, 
in whom they triumphed over death, which 
also bears the circle, the emblem of that per- 
fect eternity upon which they have entered. 

Upon the face of the monument is cut two 
wreaths, linked together; Loula's wreath of 
lilies, Bessie's of rose buds. The names of 
•^'Loula" and "Bessie" are beneath the 
wreaths. 



The Valley of the Shadow. 93 
Then comes the following inscription : 

" Laid down to sleep together, 

Sept. 6th 1877." 

" They were lovely and pleasaat 
In their lives, and in their deaths 

They were not divided." 

On the reverse is, their full baptismal name& 
and ages, with these words : 

" Beholding the King in His beauty." 

On Loula' s end : 
'^Loula said, put these words on my tomb- 
stone : 

' We love Him because He first loved us.' " 

'•With Him in Paradise." 
On Bessie's side, these words i 

" Our Bessie's voice 

Is hushed in prayer. 
And changed to songs, 
Where angels are. 
Hallelujah !" 

Sleeping there in the quiet Valley, we must 



94 The Happy Valley. 

leave the mortal part, and let our thoughts and 
desires follow their spirits to the land of light 
and life, where, with the loved and radiant ones 
who ministered to them on their dying beds, 
they await in rest and peace the joyful 
resurrection. 

" How good of God, to halve the lot, 
And give tlicm all the sweetness; 

To us the empty room and cot. 
To them the heavens' completeness. 

"To us this grave, to them the rows 
The mystic palm trees spring in, 

To us the silence in the house, 
To them the choral singing." 

The caviller at God's truth must stand 
abashed before such a revelation of spiritual 
might as this ! What but a divine power 
could uphold such children, and make them 
full of a courage, not of earth, to meet the King 
of Terrors, and meeting him, to find the sting 
of death removed, and only a path of light 
opening before their feet as they pass down 
into the Valley of the Shadow \ 

What but a divine power could strengthen 



The Valley of the Shadow. 95 

the " Sweet Mother," that her faith failed nor, 
and she has been enabled to say, '' It is well.'' 

It was indeed "a glimpse of glory," an 
incitement to continued straggle toward the 
gates of day, into which they passed from 
mortal sight. 

The circumstances of their deaths has already 
exerted a strong infiaence, and a i-evival of 
spiritual life has sprung up in many a heart 
that loved them. 

The nurse girl, Margaret, has been led to ask, 
''when Loula said for me to 'get my crutch- 
es,' and come on, did she not mean that I need- 
ed soniething to help me ; cannot I be baptized 
and made a member of Christ's Church?" 

She has been brought to Baptism and is now 
preparing for Confirmation, and through it for 
the reception of the Holy Eucharist. May she 
be enabled by these " crutches " to support her 
halting steps along the way of life, until she 
arrives at the same shining gate which has ad- 
mitted them to the rest of Paradise. 

The lives of God's saints, be they young or 
old, are the heritage of His Church, and for this 
reason the simple story, uow ended, is told. 



96 The Happy Valley. 

Also because at a time when the voice and pen 
of scoffers are alike busy, striving to overthrow- 
all belief in the supernatural, and break down 
all faith in a world of spirits, this evidence of 
the Communion of Saints, and of the presence 
of our Divine Lord, so pure, so beautiful, so un- 
questioned — this death-bed testimony of two 
guileless-hearted, truthful, little Christians, 
ought to stand as a powerful refutation to all 
complex infidel philosophy. 

The experiences of their last hours could have 
been no delusion. Spiritual help was iii(l(-td 
vouchsafed to them, and their eyes were open- 
ed, as in the case of the servant of Elijah upon 
the mountain (2 Kings vi. 16, 17), that they 
might see the glory that surrounded them. 

Only humble souls, that have in Christ Jesus 
become like little children can hope for a simi- 
lar blessing, and for it our Holy Mother Church 
bids all within Her fold to pray, as on the 
*' Holy Innocents Day." 

''O Almighty God, who out of the mouth of 
babes and sucklings hast ordained strength, 
and madest infants to glorify thee by their 



The Valley of Life, 97 

deaths ; mortify and kill all voices in us, and so 
strengthen as by thy grace, that by the inno- 
cency of our lives, and constancy of our faith, 
even unto death, we may glorify thy Holy name; 
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen." 

And again, on the feast of "St. Michael and 
all Angels:" 

"O everlasting God, who hast ordained and 
constituted the services of angels and men in a 
v/onderful order ; mercifully grant that as thy 
holy angels always do Thee service in Heaven, 
so, by thy appointment, they may succor and 
defend us on earth ; through Jesus Christ our 
Lord. Amen." 



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